Bear’s-eye-view: Grizzly chomps on filmmaker’s GoPro
Published Monday, October 20, 2014 10:39AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 20, 2014 7:55PM PDT
A hair-raising video shot in the B.C. wilderness is giving a bear’s-eye-view of what it might be like to be mauled by a grizzly.
John Kitchin, a UK wildlife filmmaker and Ph.D student, said the stunning video was shot in mid-September near Glendale Cove at Knight Inlet, near the north end of Vancouver Island.
He was interviewing bear biologist Melanie Clapham on a suspended platform on the side of a bridge, when the pair was surprised by a curious cub.
“We heard a noise, and as we looked up, just behind Mel this young grizzly bear was poking its face over the side of the bridge, chewing on the side of the bridge and just kind of looking at us curiously,” Kitchin said. “The bear looked back around and we could hear footsteps. It turned out to be a cub with its mom and sibling.”
The cub turned its attention to the GoPro, which was fixed to the top of the bridge. In the video, it can be seen pawing at the camera before picking it up in its mouth in a flash of fur and claws.
“I could see it going for the camera and I just thought ‘What am I going to do?’ I didn’t want to start shouting, screaming, yelling at the bear and running after it, especially since its mother was at the end of the bridge,” he said. “I was conflicted because I knew it would be good footage.”
And that’s exactly what he got. The video, titled “Death by Grizzly Bear,” contains close-up shots of the bear’s eyes, nose, claws and teeth – invaluable footage for the filmmaker.
But Kitchin says the video also shows a gentler side of the often-misunderstood animal, because it didn’t rip apart the camera right away; instead taking the GoPro out of its external case before puncturing it with its teeth.
“I guess a lot of people will think about this, that this is what it’s like to be mauled by a grizzly bear,” he said. “They’re not hunters; they’re not this fast-moving, predatory-driven animal. What fascinated me was the way she picks up the camera and takes it away. It’s not immediately destroyed. She had the camera for another two minutes before it stops filming.
“It’s kind of a show of their mental and physical dexterity in manipulating these objects, not just mindlessly clawing and chewing on it.”
The GoPro camera that the bear snacked on has seen better days, and only works when duct tape holds it together, Kitchin said.
“The camera certainly doesn’t look how it used to look, but I was just super pleased that the footage was what it was,” he said.
The video was posted to YouTube on Oct. 15 and has since been viewed more than 10,000 times.